The Kansas Humanities Council received a 2014 Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize for KHC’s support of #QR1863, a Twitter re-enactment commemorating the 150th anniversary of Quantrill’s Raid on Lawrence, at an awards ceremony at the National Humanities Conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on October 31, 2014. Presented by the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the Schwartz Prize is awarded annually to up to three state humanities councils for innovative programs that have had a significant impact on citizens, organizations, or communities in their states. KHC joins Oregon Humanities and Utah Humanities in receiving the 2014 Schwartz Prize.
#QR1863 was a 2013 project supported through a KHC Humanities grant and coordinated by Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area in Lawrence. The project demonstrated the power of social media to engage citizens with the humanities through “live tweets” of the events of August, 21, 1863, when pro-Confederate forces launched a surprise raid on the pro-Union stronghold of Lawrence, leaving as many as 200 dead and a town in ruins. Community members researched historical texts and consulted with academic historians to compose tweets conveying the real time experiences of victims, raiders, and survivors.
Schwartz Prize judges praised the #QR1863 project for its creative and effective use of social media to engage the public with local history and for its reach and impact worldwide. One judge stated that they “loved the marriage between amateur history geeks, education, scholars, and the innovative use of technology.”
“We are thrilled to have #QR1863 recognized by the Federation of State Humanities Councils,” said Julie McPike, managing director of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. “The advice and support that Kansas Humanities Council provided for this project had a huge impact on its success. The collaboration between institutions, academic historians, volunteer citizen-historians, and the public created an accessible and multi-layered conversation about the events of the past and their impact on the present. #QR1863 exceeded our expectations in every way possible, including being recognized with the Schwartz Prize.”
All the #QR1863 tweets are available on Storify. Click here to read them.